The Chemical Activity Barometer, a leading macroeconomic indicator launched last month, was flat in July at 88.5. CAB data had been declining for the three previous months, the American Chemistry Council announced.
“July data continues to suggest that broader U.S. economic growth in the second half of 2012 will be weak, while the CAB also suggests a slowing of U.S. exports during the rest of the year,” said Dr. Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC. “Looking at the data, one bright spot for the economy is the positive trends in the light vehicles and housing sectors which could possibly suggest a forward momentum building in these sectors.”
ACC said of the key indicators in the CAB, production-related indicators, chemical company equities and inventories were flat, while prices were down. Hours worked increased.
The CAB's three-month moving average, considered a less volatile measure of the economy, declined from 89.3 in June to 88.8 in July. ACC said this suggested muted growth prospects in the months ahead.